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Please reach out if you have any comments or questions! Scroll down to meet our staff and get in touch.

Nanaimo Art Gallery
150 Commercial Street
Nanaimo, British Columbia
CANADA V9R 5G6
+1 (250) 754-1750


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Our Staff

Yvonne

Yvonne Vander Kooi

Art Education Coordinator
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Yvonne Vander Kooi

Yvonne’s teaching practice has embraced community, collaboration, education and public art. She joined the gallery team in 2014 and maintains an active studio practice working primarily with painting and drawing. Her work invites us to consider stories about people, places, and movement that are both personal and universal. She has participated in numerous group and solo shows here on the island and has work in private and corporate collections. Born and raised in Ontario, she received her BFA in Michigan, and has lived in Toronto and Vancouver. She currently lives in Snuneymuxw territory with her family and two dogs. 

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Carolyn

Carolyn Holmes

Executive Director
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Carolyn Holmes

Born in England, Carolyn moved to Southern Ontario at the age of three and spent her childhood drawing. She has worked in art galleries since she was a teenager. Carolyn brought her love of art education to the territory of Lheidli T’enneh where she lived and worked for 20 years.  Carolyn moved to Snuneymuxw territory and joined the team at Nanaimo Art Gallery in 2020. She has a passion for community engagement and believes strongly in the potential of art galleries to connect people. Mother to Nathaniel and Nicholas and partner to Bill, Carolyn enjoys spending time outside gardening, hiking, kayaking and exploring the island. Her “not-so” guilty pleasure is reality TV.

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Aarame

Aaramë Robillard

Visitor Services Coordinator
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Aaramë Robillard

As a poet, printmaker, arts administrator, and art collector, the arts permeate all aspects of Aaramë’s life. Originally from Texada and the upper Sunshine Coast, she has called Nanaimo home since 1999. She is grateful for the privilege to spend her life on Tla’amin, Snuneymuxw, and other Coast Salish territories. Since 2008, she has operated a small home-based printmaking studio creating handmade serigraphs, intaglio etchings, and hand-bound books. She has taught printmaking workshops through Nanaimo Art Gallery, Vancouver Island University, Gabriola Isle of the Arts Festival, Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery, and private studio classes. She holds a Diploma of Visual Arts from Vancouver Island University (2013) and is an alumna of the Leadership Vancouver Island program. Aaramë brings over 20 years administrative management experience to Nanaimo Art Gallery, and has been a part of the Nanaimo arts community for over 10 years, previously working with Crimson Coast Dance and Centre for the Arts Nanaimo. She is a strong advocate of the power of art to create bonds, build communities, and transform lives. She is also passionate about growing her personal collection of works on paper, including hand-bound and limited edition books, original prints and letterpress broadsheets.

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Jesse

Jesse Birch

Curator
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Jesse Birch

Jesse Birch is a curator, writer, educator, and artist who was born and raised here on Snuneymuxw territory. He is grateful to be able to live in this dynamic and beautiful place that has been stewarded by the Snuneymuxw people since time immemorial. Jesse has lived in Vancouver, Seoul, Kyoto, and Amsterdam, and in 2014 he returned to the Island with his partner and son to reconnect with his home community and join the team at Nanaimo Art Gallery. Jesse has been active as a curator since 2001. He sees curating as both a job and a collaborative practice that brings artists and artworks into relation with people, places, and histories. Jesse also has an emerging practice as a potter, and has been an avid skateboarder for 35 years.

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Dana

Dana Gage

Marketing & Communications Coodinator
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Dana Gage

Dana Gage grew up on the lands of the K’ómoks people and now lives on Penelakut territory with her husband, two daughters where they all love to explore Vancouver Island and beyond.  She has worked in galleries, museums and non-profit organizations in Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island for the past 20 years and loves connecting with creative and passionate people. She looks forward to building relationships between Nanaimo Art Gallery and the larger community. When she gets a minute to herself you might find her listening to a mystery audiobook in her flower and veggie garden!

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Claire

Claire Geddes Bailey

Curatorial Intern
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Claire Geddes Bailey

Claire Geddes Bailey is an emerging artist, writer and curator. They began at Nanaimo Art Gallery in November 2020, and will be in their role as curatorial intern for one year. Their work has appeared at CSA Space, Field Contemporary, Hatch Art Gallery, and the Polygon, and they were writer-in-residence as part of Artspeak’s Studio for Emerging Writers (2018). Claire holds a BA in English Literature and Visual Art from UBC (2019).

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Jennifer

Jennifer Stewart Pierce

Gallery Assistant
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Jennifer Stewart Pierce

Jennifer started as a volunteer with Nanaimo Art Gallery in 2006. She has since joined the gallery as an employee and still volunteers. Jen has over ten years experience in clerical administration as well as assistant managerial experience. A writer and poet, she has been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, Synergy Magazine, Bard’s Ink, and had her work showcased on various online publications. In the past Jen has assisted with the editing of some gallery publications. She also took part in NAG’s 2014 exhibition Ekphrasis: Writing the Collection.

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Aisha

Aisha Hamis

Public Education Coordinator
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Aisha Hamis

Aisha was born in Ontario in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory, and grew up in Burlington on the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Her love of teaching started as a teenager, working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, and has only grown since then. As a gallery educator she encourages people of all ages to have fun making, and engaging with art. She moved to Snuneymuxw territory in May of 2021, and enjoys spending time at community events, playing board games, escaping from rooms, solving murder mysteries, finding new benches to read on, and watching reality tv.

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Stephen

Stephen Laidlaw

Curatorial Technician And Facilities Coordinator
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Stephen Laidlaw

Stephen Laidlaw was born in Ottawa on the traditional land of the Algonquins of Pikwakenagan and now resides on the traditional land of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. He is the Nanaimo Art Gallery technician / building manager and has held the position for 15 years. He still maintains his studio practice as time permits as well as trying to put a small white ball in a hole in the ground from distances yards away.

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Mary Anne

Mary Anne Molcan

Visitor Services
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Mary Anne Molcan

Mary Anne Molcan was born in Kristapinanihk, which in Cree translates to ‘Great Meeting Place’. Located along the shores of the North Saskatchewan River, it was a place of social gatherings for ceremony and trade. She feels very grateful to now live, work, and play on the ancestral lands of the Snuneymuxw Coast Salish people in the valley beneath Wakesiah. When she is not welcoming people to the gallery,  she is a local artist with a current focus in two-dimensional media: printmaking, drawing, and painting. She holds a BA in Visual Arts with a minor in Psychology from Vancouver Island University. Her practice explores the intersection between the natural world and human values. She also loves to write and has published a story called ‘The Strength of Vulnerability’ in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

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Violet Elliott / Snu’Meethia

Indigenous Engagement Coordinator
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Violet Elliott / Snu’Meethia

Violet is from Snuneymuxw, Stzuminus, Penalekut, and Cowichan now residing in Quamichan, which is in Cowichan. She lives with her Sta’lus, Joe Elliott, her Memuna’, Jeremy Elliott, married to Maria, and they have two beautiful daughters, Adelie and Evelie. Her youngest Son is Tyrone Elliott and his Fiance’ is Jasmine Dionne. Violet has been weaving for 25 years, She has taught hat weaving workshops, purse weaving workshops, and has been in the schools to introduce our children and youth about our values of cedar bark gathering. She also enjoys gathering other natural weaving materials and being in the outdoors. Violet has primarily worked in the Counselling/facilitating field, teaching history and impacts of colonization and Indian Residential Schools.

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Chris

Chris Kuderle

Administrative Director
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Chris Kuderle

Chris has been with the Gallery since June 2003. Prior to that she worked in Ontario for an experiential learning company. She thrives on variety and her years with the Gallery have certainly provided that. In addition to managing the financial aspects of the Gallery, she enjoys the creative aspects such as growing programs such as TD Artists in the Schools. She holds an honours BA with a double major in English and Theatre. Her interests include photography, writing and the environment. Her photographs have graced the covers and insides of many magazines. Her writing especially travel articles have been published by a number of Ontario newspapers. She is currently writing a fiction book and taking lots of photos of inspiring Vancouver Island.

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Nanaimo Art Gallery is situated in the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Snuneymuxw First Nations, and we are grateful to operate on Snuneymuxw territory.